Google Docs Quick Tip: Uploads and Storage Basics

Here's the rundown on how to convert your existing files and maximize your Google storage allotment.

We've all been there: uploading large files and e-mailing them to ourselves so we can access the file at a later time, in a different place. But there's an easier way to view and edit your documents, thanks to Google Docs. Earlier this year, Google Docs rolled out the ability to use the cloud to upload, store and organize any type of file—anything from large graphics and raw photos to unedited video from your smartphone.

Beware of a few restrictions that come with standard Google accounts. First, you can upload to Google Docs any file up to 250MB in size. Second, Google Docs allows you 1GB of free storage for files that you don't convert into one of the Google Docs formats (i.e. spreadsheets and presentations. See more below.). If you need extra storage at any time, you can purchase more, starting at 20GB for $5 per year. Note that this additional storage is shared among Gmail, Google Docs, Picasa Web Albums, Blogger (for photos) and Google Buzz (for photos).

How to Upload Files

Uploading a file is easy. Click the Upload button on the Docs list homepage. Then, select the files you want to upload from your computer. (You can select multiple files by pressing Shift or Ctrl and clicking all the files you want to upload.)

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Next, you have two options: You can store the uploaded file in Google Docs, or convert it to a Google Docs format (which consumes less storage) so you can edit it later online and with your peers, if you want. If you'd prefer to store the file without converting it, deselect the option to convert the file. Finally, pick a folder to which you'd like to upload the files, and click the Start upload button.

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Acceptable File Types

You can only upload and convert the following file types (and original formatting may not be preserved):

-Spreadsheets: .xls, .xlsx, .ods, .csv, .tsv, .txt, .tsb

-Documents: .doc, .docx, .html, plain text (.txt), .rtf

-Presentations: .ppt, .pps

Staff Writer Kristin Burnham covers consumer Web and social technologies for CIO.com. She writes frequently on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google. You can follow her on Twitter: @kmburnham.

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